In sportswriting, no one may embody that ethos more than Dave Kindred. Sunday night’s 60 Minutes aired an outstanding feature on Kindred, a legendary sportswriter who’s worked for the Louisville Courier-Journal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Washington Post (where he was syndicated throughout the country), and Sporting News, and had to scratch the writing itch when he saw a story too good to ignore.
Correspondent Jon Wertheim (a tremendous sportswriter himself, largely at Sports Illustrated) caught up with Kindred, who moved back to Illinois after retiring and enjoyed watching the Morton High School girls basketball team enough that he was compelled to write about the Lady Potters regularly for the team’s website.
Here’s a clip, but you can watch the entire feature at CBSNews.com.
An award-winning reporter and columnist who’s covered Super Bowls, World Series, Olympics, and chronicled the career of Muhammad Ali might consider it beneath him to write about a high school girls basketball team. That’s the kind of beat a writer might take as a first job out of college.
But with fewer outlets available and most publications phasing out the general sports columnist (once the premier job at a newspaper or magazine) nowadays, Kindred had to find another platform.
Like Kindred said, writers write. And writing, doing what he knew how to do better than anything else, helped him cope with personal tragedies, including his wife suffering a debilitating stroke, by giving him some purpose. Those who feel the need to write, who want to tell good stories and hear from interesting people, whether they’re making money from it or not, can surely relate.
It’s a wonderful story, regardless of whether or not you’re familiar with Kindred’s work and career. I grew up reading those Washington Post columns and his column was the first thing I turned to when I got a copy of Sporting News in the mail.
Kindred’s book on Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell, Sound and Fury, is one of my favorite sports books. (As I’ve gone through my collection and tried to pare it down for donations to Goodwill and used bookstores, that’s one which I’ll never let go.)
During the conversation with Wertheim, it’s apparent how much this means to Kindred, as well as the coach and women who still can’t believe that such an accomplished writer wants to chronicle their achievements. (And the Lady Potters have many achievements, winning four consecutive state championships.)
Any fan of Kindred, any fan of writing, and anyone who’s needed to keep moving forward in the face of tragedy should enjoy this piece.